Hear JoAnn Falletta's Discussion With Robert Siegel
Our country's culture is a vast conglomeration of more than 200 years of influences from all over the world. We have taken what began as an extraordinary European tradition and expanded that legacy on American soil. We have added our essential egalitarianism, our love of experimentation, our inclusiveness and our boldness to the very form of the symphony. Americans have not been bound by one definition of the symphony, and composers have applied that formal name to pieces of varying length, structure and content.
It may seem like wildfire Armageddon out there, given the tragic deaths of 24 wildland firefighters this year, more than 800 homes and businesses burned to the ground, nearly 1.6 million acres scorched and over 23,000 blazes requiring suppression.
But as dramatic as it's been, the 2013 wildfire season has yet to kick into high gear.
"We have seen, overall, less fire activity so far this year," says Randy Eardley, a spokesman at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
You may not know the name Marie Duplessis, but odds are you know some stories about her. She inspired a French novel, which was turned into a successful play, several movies (including one starring Greta Garbo), a ballet and, most famously, a great Italian opera — La Traviata.
At gay pride events throughout the country last weekend, marchers celebrated the Supreme Court's ruling striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Now, the rainbow flags are giving way to calculators and sharp pencils, as gay and lesbian couples start to grapple with the practical impact of what the ruling means for them.
President Obama has directed Cabinet members to implement the ruling "swiftly and smoothly" by extending federal recognition to same-sex marriages for the first time. But that will be easier for some federal agencies than others.
A recent spike in mortgage rates has created a new predicament for potential homebuyers: Forge ahead and try to lock in now? Or hold off?
Dhruv Gupta was quoted a 3.5 percent rate in May while searching for a place to buy in the San Francisco area. Less than two months later, he's looking at 5.2 percent for the same loan. But this trend has not deterred Gupta.
"It's a fact of life," he says. "I mean I can't control them, so what do you do?"
For two days now, about 400,000 commuters in the San Francisco Bay Area have had to find an alternate way to get around. Workers for the area's rail system are on strike. The dispute at Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART, is over pay, benefit and safety issues. Employees walked off the job early Monday morning as their contract expired. For now, NPR's Richard Gonzales reports that most travelers are taking the disruption in stride.
Flip open any cycling magazine and you might think only skinny, good-looking, white people ride bikes. But increasingly that doesn't reflect the reality. Communities of color are embracing cycling. And as a fast-growing segment of the cycling population, they're making themselves far more visible.
In America, summer grilling generally means heading to the backyard and throwing some hot dogs, burgers and maybe vegetable skewers on the fire. But in India and Pakistan, where summers last for seven months, grilling takes on a whole new level of sophistication.